Photos by Neens(Published in the October 2009 issue)
Kristin and Steve have at least one thing in common: they’re both going to jump out of a plane for today’s highflying blind date adventure. Here at Team PacificSD, we’re hoping for a safe landing for two reasons.
First, we love our readers. Second, our insurance policy is really set up to cover injuries resulting from office supplies, not from exiting planes mid-flight.
The daters have just arrived and met for the first time at PacificSD’s new office in Old Town. They trade their civilian clothes for logoed t-shirts (catastrophe or not, we’re psyched about the YouTube exposure), then Kristin jumps in Steve’s car for the ride south to Brown Field Municipal Airport, in Otay Mesa, a tamale’s throw from the border. We have about half an hour in the car, so let’s review the pre-date interviews.
Where are you from?
She says: I’m originally from a small town called Paradise, in Northern California.
He says: I grew up all around the East Coast.
Why are you going on a blind date in a magazine?
She says: Why not?
He says: To try something new. And to get the free coffee.
Describe your personality in seven words.
She says: Engaging, sarcastic, cheerful, captivating, funny, easy to be around and adventurous.
He says: Proper prior preparation prevents piss-poor performance.
What do you do for fun?
She says: I love the outdoors, biking, water polo, softball, people-watching, happy hour with friends, just to name a few.
He says: Whatever I’m doing right now. Why would you do something that isn’t fun?
Rate yourself physically on a scale from one to 10.
She says: Depends on who you ask.
He says: Nine. Nobody’s perfect.
What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
She says: That I am really outgoing and not afraid to take risks.
He says: The passion and dedication I have for whatever I’m doing.
During what historical period would you liked to have lived?
She says: The 80s, because I can rock an awesome Mohawk.
He says: When the Wright Brothers developed flight, so I could be the first one to jump out of a plane.
What’s the sexiest thing about you?
She says: I say my smile, but then again, you’ll have to ask my date.
He says: My mother told me I was the handsomest boy at the dance.
What do you like least about yourself?
She says: I can be too nice.
He says: I don’t understand the question.
What’s your sign, religion or spiritual belief system, if any?
She says: I’m a Capricorn.
He says: I believe in God and Jesus.
What’s the most important thing in the world?
She says: Creating balance in my life.
He says: Besides me? Hugs.
What’s the most fun you’ve had in a plane?
She says: I plead the fifth.
He says: My release was contingent upon the fact that I don’t talk about that incident on Facebook or anywhere else.
Steve and Kristin have had about half an hour to get to know each other while following the PacificSD crew to the jump zone. As the group arrives at Pacific Coast Skydiving’s hangar, we are greeted by Andy Rowell, the owner of the company, who has skydived more than 8,500 times in 20 years.
The daters will jump tandem, meaning that each will be securely tethered to a professional skydiver, who will control the jump, the chute and the landing. All Steve and Kristin have to do is fall, so there isn’t really any training required.
Extremely pregnant with their first child, Andy’s wife hands the jumpers waivers to sign. For insurance purposes, we say we were from the Union-Tribune. Time to fly.
The plane is small, its door propped open to make jumping easier... and takeoff more terrifying. Rather than jump at the same time, Steve and Kristin will take turns putting their lives in the hands of Andy, who has a video camera mounted to his left hand.
Steve’s up first. With pilot Erol Karanfil at the controls, the plane takes off. At about 12,000 feet, Steve, with Andy attached to his back, exits the plane. Instructor/photographer Eric Hartung follows the pair out of the always-open door to capture the descent on his helmet-cam.
The jumpers plummet for about 40 seconds before their chutes open. As they gently touch down about five minutes later, Steve is smiling from ear to ear.
“That was dope,” he says.
Now it’s Kristin’s turn. The plane, which has already landed, takes off again. Once Kristin arrives safely back on earth, it’s time to head north for dinner and drinks.
The couple drives together to the Ivy Hotel in the Gaslamp, where they have a drink at the rooftop bar overlooking the city. After about 20 minutes, they’re split for mid-date debriefings.
How was the skydiving? Scary?
She says: You definitely get the butterflies when you’re up there and he’s talking to you about, ‘Okay, we’re five minutes away,’ and the next thing you know, the door’s opening and you’re sitting there, hovering over this open space-and then you’re out, freefalling, and you have this incredible rush.
He says: I wasn’t scared, but I did get anxious right before the jump. But once I jumped, it was fun, and then it wasn’t long enough. When Andy pulled the rip cord, he was like, ‘It worked! It worked!’ I knew he was joking. That guy’s got good luck. He’s jumped 8,500 times.
How’s the date going so far?
She says: It’s going really good. He’s really fun to talk to. We have a really good chemistry.
He says: It’s been pretty exciting. She laughs at everything, so I feel like I’m really, really funny.
Is this the kind of person you’d normally date?
She says: He would definitely be someone who I’d talk to in a regular setting-if I met him out at a bar or some other engagement. He’s a very personable person.
He says: Ummm... maybe. It’s different when you’re younger. Now, I’m cautious about who I’d date. But she’s an awesome chick, totally cool. I’m having a lot of fun.
Rate your date physically on a scale from one to 10.
She says: 9.5. He’s handsome.
He says: Seven.
And for personality?
She says: 9.5 to 10.
He says: Nine.
What’s your date’s best quality so far?
She says: He gives me back the sarcastic, smartass comments. I tend to throw it out there quite often.
He says: She likes to laugh and roll with any situation. She could have fun no matter what she’s doing.
Is the vibe friendly or romantic?
She says: There’s definitely that rapport and chemistry.
He says: I’d say friendly.
Do you want to kiss your date now?
She says: I’m not that easy.
He says: No.
Does your date want to kiss you?
She says: You’ll have to ask him that.
He says: I’d say there’s a possibility.
After having drinks at the Ivy Rooftop bar and pool deck, Steve and Kristin head downstairs for dinner at the hotel’s posh Quarter Kitchen restaurant. As their food arrives, the couple is finally left alone for the evening.
calls the next day to see what we missed.
Overall, how was the date?
She says: Aside from the skydiving and dinner and drinks at a swanky downtown venue, Steve is a decent guy. Conversation was good and he was funny.
He says: The skydiving was awesome, my date was fun, but there was no romantic spark.
How was the Ivy rooftop?
She says: It was perfect for having afternoon cocktails in the sunshine. Plus, there was great house music, people were enjoying the pool and cabanas and we took in the amazing views of downtown.
He says: I didn’t really drink, but she did. I think she had four or five drinks. I was so sober I can’t remember.
What did you eat at Quarter Kitchen?
She says: First, we tried the caviar tacos and oysters, then moved on to the duck tacos, which were really delicious and flavorful. We wrapped it up with chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert.
He says: They brought us oysters and caviar to start. Then we had sliders and duck tacos. The best was the chocolate-covered strawberries.
Describe the chemistry between you and your date.
She says: The chemistry between us was more in the friend zone.
He says: More of a friendship than anything.
What was the best part of the date?
She says: Skydiving. Awesome.
He says: Skydiving.
She says: That is was a bazillion degrees at the jump site, and we were trying to look cool and collected.
He says: During my skydive, the cameraman didn’t get any still photos of me. That and the fact that there was no romantic chemistry.
What happened after the magazine crew left you two alone?
She says: We stayed at Ivy, had a couple more cocktails, talked about life, people-watched then called it a night.
He says: We hung out for a few more hours and then went home.
Will there be a second date?
She says: No, don’t think so.
He says: I’d hang out with her as a friend because she’s cool, but not go on another date.
Holy chute, everyone lived! PacificSD gets to stay in business and keep conducting blind dates. It’s interesting to note that, while the daters did fall back to earth, they did not fall in love with each other. The law of gravity was sure working today, but the law of attraction must have been on the fritz.
“Roger, Roger. What’s our vector, Victor?” -Captain Oveur, from the movie Airplane
“If you go parachuting, and your parachute doesn’t open, and your friends are all watching you fall, I think a funny gag would be to pretend you were swimming.” -Jack Handy
“Might as well jump.” -David Lee Roth
“Oh, chute! I thought you said shoot.” -Plaxico Burress, ex-New York Giants wide receiver who shot himself in the leg.
“I could make a lot of pants with that thing. Is that silk?” -M.C. Hammer
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